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The Pull of Plexeus

from The Far Star Mission (Audiobook) by Apotheus



Chapter 5
The Pull of Plexeus

The mission went very smoothly. There weren’t any slowdowns since they entered cruise speed back in their home planet’s solar system. Eight decades had passed and everything happened according to the plan. The first generation was now old and all the members of the second generation had been born. From the first 740 members, only 17 members had died, also roughly according to plan. Raising children in the deep space wasn’t an easy task and was very time and resource demanding. So the mission started with as many members as possible, since population was expected to decrease on each generation. The second generation would have only 370 members and the third around 185. All of this was, of course, distributed between the two spaceships, named Al-phae and Ome-gae.

Somewhere in the eighth decade, the first unexpected event happened. After travelling years in empty space without seeing much, pretty much anything is unexpected. But this was too much, even for their comrades that were left on their home planet. An unidentified object appeared on the spaceship radars. It was Plexeus, a massive black hole, and one of the largest known types.

While many would consider this event a threat to the whole mission, the spaceship pilots saw a huge opportunity. They were heavily trained and were among the best physicists in the whole crew. The plan was clear. The trajectory needed to be carefully adjusted in such a way that Plexeus’ gravity would create a “slingshot effect”. This technique is called gravity assist maneuver, and the pilots were quite acquainted with it. It's a smart way to harness the gravity of a celestial body to save fuel and increase speed.

And so they did. Every member that wasn’t strictly needed retreated to their quarters for safety. As they were approaching Plexeus the spaceship’s alarms sounded louder. According to the pilots the trajectory was correctly calculated, but it was still a situation of high stress for the ship's fuselage due to the massive tidal forces. Plexeus was colossal and there was a faint cloud of asteroids surrounding it. Their trajectory passed so close that the black hole couldn’t fit in the spaceship’s biggest windows. The tremendous shaking could be felt to the bones. Looking at it directly became impossible due to the striking brightness of its rings. Almost like an angel that came to their rescue.

The chaos has passed and the crew rejoices in joy. According to the calculations, the travel time was reduced in 30 years. This meant that the second generation could have a slim chance of seeing the destination planet. From that day, Plexeus became a cherished symbol of hope and protection that would last as many generations as the mission could allow.


from The Far Star Mission (Audiobook), released March 26, 2020


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Apotheus Paços De Ferreira, Portugal

Apotheus is a Portuguese Melodic Metal act from Portugal.

Founded in 2008, the group currently consists of Miguel Andrade (vocals/rythm guitar), Luís "Gold Monkey" (lead guitar), Daniel Rocha (bass) and Albano “von Hammer” (drums). ... more


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